In a fairly unsurprising turn of events Alt-J have won the 2012 Barclaycard Mercury Music prize for their debut album An Awesome Wave.
The indie four-piece were the favorites to pick up the £20,000 prize. Their album was chosen over 11 other titles including second time nominee Richard Hawley’s Standing at the Sky’s Edge, Plan B’s Ill Manors and BBC sound of 2012 winner Michael Kiwanuka’s Home Again. After accepting the award from Lauren Laverne, the Leeds outfit whose album was released in May said; “Thanks to everyone who has helped team Alt-J, especially our parents who didn’t make us get jobs.”
Maintaining a humble complexion as they were flung into a live interview with Nick Grimshaw on 4 Music, keyboard player Gus Unger-Hamilton described the wait for the announcement as “terrifying” and joked they’d have to get time shares in the trophy to give an equal amount of time to everyone who deserves it.
Having formed at university in 2007, presumably where figured out the keyboard shortcut that make up their name creates a pretty geeky band logo (go on, try it), Alt-J’s intelligently catchy brand of indie pop has gained increased momentum with singles Matailda, Breezeblocks, Tessellate and Something Good all making national playlists.
This result means Radio 1’s Greg Cochrane predicted the winner in our preview podcast saying; “It’s worthy of the Mercury Prize. If the award is about celebrating the album as an artform then An Awesome Wave is definitely one of the stand out albums of 2012. It fits together perfectly from start to finish.”
The ceremony was the twentieth anniversary of the event that highlights the best British albums in the last 12 months and was hosted at Camden’s Roundhouse for the first time. You can see all the acts performances from last night on channel 4 at 11.35pm.
Listen to winning album An Awesome Wave
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Words and images by Jimmy Blake